What initially started as a side-project for Sentenced’s vocalist Ville Laihiala to rust-off his fingers on the fret-board had turned into his main occupation following the heavily mourned burial of Sentenced three years ago. It’s curious to find out that the Finns have been slowly distancing themselves from the Gothic-tinged sonority of their debut work “Escapextacy” and firmly stepping towards a direction that isn’t too far removed from the path Sentenced were exploring on their latest albums “Crimson” and “The Cold White Light”. Obviously there has been a natural inclination to compare both groups ever since Ville took over the vocals on their second full-length work “Lust Stained Despair” replacing Charon’s Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto, which sung on “Escapextacy”, but nonetheless along with the same charismatic and singular voice fronting both groups, Poisonblack also dwells on those catchy and rocking riffs and poignant melodies that were somewhat Sentenced’s calling cards.
Songs like “Diane”, “Left Behind” and “Bear the Cross” could certainly be featured on an album like “The Cold White Light” and we really wouldn’t notice that much a difference as they rock and crank out like the best tunes Sentenced ever wrote on their ending days. Its stripped-down, thundering riffs revealing a sense of looseness reminiscent of 70’s rock sounds are downright infectious and the raspy and melodic chorus Ville sings are heavily memorable.
These more up-tempo, rocking tunes contrast nicely with mellower and more morose songs like ballad-alike “The Days Between” and the melancholic and bluesy “X” making “A Dead Heavy Day” quite an enjoyable and enthralling listening.
Finally Poisonblack sound like the band they long threatened to become, a damn fine substitute for Sentenced and that won’t get any complaints from these shores.